By Les Smith, Park Board (March 7th, 2000, Red Oak Express)
This past year (1999) the family of parks gained a new member with the addition of the first park on the west side of Broadway. The new park has not been officially named yet, but for now (and because it sounds better then saying “that park”) 2nd Ave. Park has the honor of being in the last park spotlight.
That park, oops, I mean 2nd Ave. Park, is located at the corner of Second Ave and W Third St. This property once belonged to Jim Huseman, but due to his incarceration for illegal substances, a relative signed over the property to the city a couple of years ago. Interest in making it a park grew when the house was torn down and the lot left empty. Finally, on Sept. 9, the park board accepted the deed to the land and began making plans for the park.
For the immediate future, a red oak tree had been planted at the park and a couple of benches will be placed there sometime in the spring. There’s a possibility of a merry-go-round installed where the house used to be and a small swing set. With Washington School close by, the need for massive playground equipment will not be necessary. The lot to the east of the park is soon to be turned over to the city and this added to the park as soon as some legal matters are settled.
The news of 2nd Ave. becoming an official park came as welcomed information for the Red Oak Police. Now if drug activity occurs at the park, not only is there the penalty for drugs, but it will occur in the drug-free zone of Washington School. The penalty for that will double, this will make the park much more unappealing for druggies but a nicer place for those in the neighborhood and for those of you who will visit 2nd Ave. Park.
As I mentioned, this is the last of the spotlights. These articles were never intended to be the ultimate and complete history of the parks. That would take the effort required for a book. Maybe someday, someone will do that. I included background history so that you could understand what we are doing in the present by seeing what was done in the past. Hopefully, I accomplished that goal.
Now, I would like to say thank you to some people who helped make these articles possible. Thanks go to Park Board Secretary Dan Larson, whose arm twisting helped convince me to do these articles (I mean that in the nicest way Dan). To former board member Avery Boose who told me anecdotes about the parks, including the stone shelter and the booze in the pillar at legion park. He also said that I should talk to this next person who deserves my biggest thank you. Mrs. Margery Martin. As a former board member and long-time chairman of the park board, her knowledge and the papers she kept were a tremendous help in writing my background history of the parks. Without Mrs. Martin, this would have been a very unpleasant task. Thanks to Ron Crisp and Mary Bolton for filling in the information gaps I experienced. Thanks also to the chairman Kyle Cross, whose last meeting was this past December. He has served on the board for 12 years and has made my first two years on the board a very pleasant experience.
I hope all of you have enjoyed reading these articles and learned something about your parks and have a better appreciation for them. I know I do. And as always, the park board encourages one and all to take the opportunity to visit every park Red Oak has to offer.